After two early mornings the last couple of days, we gave ourselves a bit of a rest today and started our skiff rides after breakfast in the Yarapa River. We enjoyed incredible sightings of blue-and-yellow macaws perched in the canopy and flying overhead. We spotted a sloth, long-nose bats, and a big male woolly monkey in the trees above. Along the way, we stopped to visit a family building a small lodge for ecotourism and got a closer look at some of the jungle animals they have as free-ranging pets, including an uakari monkey, a peccary, and two small capybaras. It was a fascinating window into the human-wildlife relationship here among communities living within the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve. Back on board and underway, we celebrated entering the official start of the Amazon River with a special drink from our bartender at the point where the Ucayali and Marañon Rivers merge. After lunch, we sailed down the Marañon and visited the community of Amazonas to get a look at life for people living in and near the reserve. We learned about traditional foods and handicrafts from a number of women in the community before hearing their stories during a presentation on Minga Peru. This local nonprofit spearheads many important projects for the communities in the Upper Peruvian Amazon. Many of us took home memories we won’t soon forget from our first day, which we spent connecting with the people of this special place.